$1,197,000 - Turn the key to the door of this home, and unlock not just entry to a Classic Pueblo style residence but to an architectural experience of historical significance and a near-magical gateway to one of Taos’ most acclaimed artistic periods.
MAIN HOUSE - Turn the key to the door of this home, and unlock not just entry to a Classic Pueblo style residence but to an architectural experience of historical significance and a near-magical gateway to one of Taos’ most acclaimed artistic periods. This nationally registered historic landmark sits at the end of a private lane on a wooded and secluded half acre that was formerly part of the famous Mabel Dodge Luhan Estate. Though the main home was built by the art patron and socialite primarily as a guest home and entertainment venue for her famous friends in the early 20th century, portions of the residence that are about 150 years old originally belonged to the Catholic church. This lead Luhan and those she knew well to call it the Saint Teresa home.
The entire structure is renowned worldwide for its representation of Spanish and Native American architecture. Adobe bricks make up walls that are more than a foot thick; vigas and hand-carved beams
and corbels reach across ceilings; portales provide shade for outdoor living; hand-carved doors – one painted by author D.H. Lawrence – abound; built-in bancos and nichos provide the perfect pockets in
which to display art; and five kiva fireplaces help warm the home with a mystical ambience, just as Native Americans have heated theirs on the neighboring Taos Pueblo for more than 1,000 years.
Though all of this is within blocks of the center of town, owners feel as though they are in a different world and time, cloistered by an adobe wall surrounding the property and silver cottonwoods that tower above the property like gentle guardians.
So come inside, and take a trip through Taos history.
|Guest House||850 sq ft|
|School House||507 sq ft|
Salon/Entertainment Area - Just to the right of the main entrance is the home’s most grand space – a 500-square-foot entertainment room with two kiva fireplaces and adjoining bancos, 12-foot ceilings, gallery lighting and Saltillo tile floors. Upon entry, a person can easily picture Luhan welcoming writers and artists to night-long soirees, where conversation and gossip flowed as fast as the drinks, and hors d’oeuvres were served while a piano played.
Though the current owner uses this space as a bedroom and music room, the space is an example of the home’s flexibility. Almost any room in the home can be used for the purpose that most suits the owner’s needs. The house for 20 years served as a prestigious art gallery before returning to use as a residence.
This room’s high ceilings and size are not in keeping with traditional old adobe architecture and are likely more of a reflection of Luhan’s exposure to extravagant houses in New York and Europe, where she lived before Taos.
Main Living Area/Dining Room - Exit the salon and one enters a small pass-through that contains only a storage closet before reaching the main living and dining areas. But in this home, even a closet is worth noting. The door was painted by author D.H. Lawrence on one of his visits to the Luhan estate; the closet’s interior was later cedar-lined by a woman who designed coats for fashion-house Fendi and who turned the home into the highly-acclaimed Lumina Gallery for two decades. To better accommodate lighting needed for the art, she had many of the home’s original windows removed and replaced by walls. Gallery lighting was installed and remains today, providing plenty of light.
The main living/dining area repeats much of the architectural design in the entertainment area, with another kiva fireplace and bancos, Saltillo tile floors, plaster walls and 12-foot ceilings. Though here, hand-carved beams and corbels take the place of vigas, and white-painted wood planks cover the ceiling between them.
Kitchen - An archway to the kitchen shows off the designer’s attention to detail as a stairstep pattern in the plaster on one side adds interest to what could be an ordinary pass-through. While the casual kitchen maintains the architectural style of the rest of the home, appliances are modern except for an eye-catching antique wood-burning stove that was added by a previous owner. A central rustic wood island provides additional space to the tiled countertops for food preparation or snacking.
Guest Bathroom - The home’s one downstairs bathroom is located unexpectedly around the corner from the kitchen through a surprisingly Gothic-looking archway. But once inside, architecture returns to traditional Pueblo style.
Master Suite - The second floor of the home is accessed by a custom winding stairway made of white plaster-covered steel. This magnificent Gaudi-esque structure, which resembles a curved spine, has no hand rails and was added in later years to replace a smaller, more traditional stairway. It leads to the master bedroom sitting area, now being used as an office.
A sizeable portal is accessible from the sitting area/office, beckoning outdoor relaxation or entertaining with its views of the grassy front of the property and the Mable Dodge Luhan home next door.
The adjacent master bedroom and bathroom occupy an elegant open floor plan with a step used as a visual separation between the rooms instead of a door. While the space appears more modern due to its openness, wood floors and ceramic tile, vigas and white plaster walls are in keeping with tradition.
Wide views of Taos Pueblo land to the back of the house bring one mentally back to the home’s origins. Luhan’s husband of the day, who was from Taos Pueblo, built the main house in collaboration with friends from the Pueblo.
GUEST HOUSE - To the left of the home’s main entry is one of two guest quarters. This one, named Casita Morada, is part of the original structure built sometime in the 1850's. It was inspiration for the design of the main home and is truly a small residence unto itself. Its main living area has a kiva fireplace, and a small kitchen and breakfast nook share an elongated space. The bedroom contains a collection of books and historical writings from the time of Mabel Dodge Luhan. A generous bathroom has been updated with modern amenities, including plenty of large mirrors and counter space as well as a small built-in desk.
COURTYARD - In addition to the front entry, there is private access to the second guest area, a studio known as the Schoolhouse, outside through a hacienda-style courtyard. Large trees grow up from its center, which is surrounded by mud walls embedded at intervals with Old World salad-sized plates Luhan brought back from Portugal.
SCHOOL HOUSE - This is the oldest part of the property, originally built by the Saint Teresa mission in the 1850s and used by the nuns to teach children from Taos Pueblo. Luhan bought it from the Catholic church to add to her estate. She had the main home built in stages after this purchase. A covered portal surrounds these quarters.
This 150-year-old room, for which the entire home has been remodeled and is now used as a studio for overnight guests. While it includes kitchen and bedroom sections, there is no bathroom inside. A “shower house” containing a modern handicapped-access glass and tile walk-in shower and lavatory is located outside, just around the corner.
GROUNDS - While the main home and guest houses sit on a half-acre, the property feels much larger with an open grassy lawn in front, shaded by lofty trees that attract a multitude of local bird species. Three operable water features add an audible serenity to the property, where its residents can find quiet respite, walk quickly to town for a day or night of shopping and eating, or entertain into the night, realizing they are living Taos history.
My name is Pavel Lukes and I am Broker/Owner of Dreamcatcher Real Estate Co. Inc. There it stood in the midst of walled off gardens, right next to legendary Mabel Dodge Luhan home, just the way Frank Waters would describe its beauty, in his book To Possess the Land. It too probably stands on land which at one time was owned by the notorious Arthur Manby, who sold the adjacent land to Mabel for her to build her home. That was long ago, long before my acquaintance with the property. When I did it was owned by my friend Felicia Ferguson who turned it into an exquisite art gallery called Lumina Gallery. Felicia's artistic touches and care provided an excellent foundation upon which the current owner could merely put finishing touches. The history, the location and the beauty make this property truly one of Taos' outstanding residential gems. It offers an unlimited realm of possibilities, one of which may be continuing the successful vacation rental started and run by current owner. It is now a favorite lodging destination for those wishing to immerse themselves in colorful Taos history.
You can reach me at 575-770-1116, firstname.lastname@example.org or by using the form below.